Toyota C-HR Hybrid review

The Toyota C-HR looks great and, despite a frustrating CVT gearbox, is an appealing hybrid SUV that's easy to live with

Toyota C-HR
£25,625 - £32,595
Hybrid

Pros

  • Sharp styling
  • Low fuel costs
  • No range anxiety

Cons

  • Only pure electric at low speeds
  • Not spacious by 4x4 standards
  • Noisy acceleration
Car type Fuel economy CO2 emissions 0-62mph
Hybrid 50-59mpg 86-92g/km 8.2-11.0s

The sci-fi look of the Toyota C-HR is quite unusual, but underneath you'll find the familiar 1.8-litre petrol-electric hybrid engine from the Toyota Prius. It sends 120bhp to the front wheels and is only offered with a CVT automatic gearbox.

As of late 2019, a more powerful 2.0-litre hybrid engine, first seen in the Toyota Corolla, is also available. The C-HR Hybrid is, of course, all about efficiency. Official economy of nearly 60mpg for the 1.8-litre is pretty reasonable and low CO2 emissions keep company-car tax down.

Bear in mind that the C-HR is a ‘self-charging’ hybrid, like the Toyota RAV4 and Kia Niro – not a plug-in hybrid like the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and MINI Countryman S E.

The C-HR doesn’t offer any pure-electric running other than during parking or at a very slow crawl – and even then, only for a mile or two. It can’t be plugged in; the engine charges the batteries while you’re driving around

If you want to commute short distances on electricity alone, but still have the convenience of petrol or diesel power for longer journeys, then a plug-in hybrid could be better, although they generally cost more to buy.

The only thing that might bother you about how the C-HR Hybrid drives is the automatic CVT gearbox. Under moderate to heavy acceleration, the engine revs rise very quickly, making the C-HR noisy when you accelerate. This applies equally to the 1.8 and 2.0-litre engines.

Still, it handles very neatly and is comfortable, so if you’re not fussed about some thrashy-sounding acceleration, then you’ll enjoy driving it. Some tweaks have been made to the suspension and steering of the 2.0-litre version to account for its slightly higher weight, but it's difficult to discern any difference on the road.

The really eye-catching looks are a significant part of the C-HR’s appeal, too, and while these come at the cost of visibility through those steeply raked rear windows, there’s a reasonable amount of space in the back.

Mind you, the small rear doors can make life awkward if you’ve got kids and child seats and the fairly small boot will fill up quickly if you’ve got a chunky off-road or twin buggy, too.

The funky-looking trim inserts and a generally modern-looking dashboard also make the C-HR’s interior a nice place to be. This is one area that’s a big step forward from drab Toyota interiors of old.

Equipment levels are very good. That eight-inch touchscreen is included on all models, but you’ll need to go for at least Design trim to get sat-nav and keyless entry, while the top-spec Dynamic and limited-run Orange Edition models get a contrasting roof treatment as well as other styling upgrades.

Toyota's five-year/100,000-mile warranty is one of the best available. Together with a strong safety rating and driver aids, plus a well earned reputation for reliability, this makes the C-HR one of the best peace-of-mind prospects in the crowded small family SUV class.

For a more detailed look at the Toyota C-HR Hybrid, read the rest of our in-depth review.